Apex Digital 40" LCD TV: Worth Every Penny
Picture quality, low low price, surprisingly good sound.
Universal remotes don't like it. Only 60 Hz refresh rate.
The Bottom Line:
If you are looking to move into the HD era or add another HDTV to another room in your home have no fear, name brand or not this is quality.
For years I looked on with envy of the entire world passing me by in upgrading to the world of High Definition while I wasted away with my standard definition television. That was until a week after the Super Bowl 2011, that is when we decided that our old SD TV had to go. You see the old 37" SD television we had weighed well over 100 lbs and during our move halfway across the country our entertainment center had got damp while in storage and was massively bowing under the weight of the very heavy TV. Since our SD TV was so big and heavy that it was destroying our entertainment center I made the executive decision that the money I had been squirrelling away was going to be used on upgrading us into the HD era, since an entertainment center solid enough to handle the old massive television would cost us just as much.
From this point searching the internet it appeared to me that Walmart.com was easily the best combination of price, availability, and convenience for us. I bought this HDTV back in February for around $420 and it ended up being around $450 with tax and it had free shipping with site to store shipping.
I chose this HDTV based upon the overall positive ratings it received at Walmart.com, with the only negative reviews coming from the customers who had received a TV with a dead cell. They stated that Apex itself wasn't very helpful with dealing with the issue, however Walmart had no issue replacing the TV with another one until you get one without any issues. Since I have a close friend that is an employee in the electronics department at my local Walmart I felt that taking the gamble on a TV that could possibly have a dead cell on the screen was worth it since it was guaranteed I would get it replaced for free if need be. Fortunately for me and Apex Digital I received a good TV.
Once I recieved it the first delight I had was finding out just how light the television was. Out of the box and without any packaging it is around 35 lbs, and even in the packaging it is only 50 lbs and fits easily into the back seat of a mid sized sedan.
Looking at the box that says "Apex: Beyond Expectation" I can't say I was too hopeful. First of all there must be only one expectation for this TV, and I'm not sure what that expectation is. Perhaps it is expected to be a piece of garbage since it is an off-brand HDTV? Or perhaps the wonderful folks at Apex decided to spend there budget on making a quality HDTV instead of finding a translator who knows how to make words plural.
Out of the Box
The first thing that struck me as I pulled it out of the box is the fact that this television looks much like any other name brand or off brand television on the market. Its outer shell is high gloss black plastic and appears to be fairly solid construction, forgive me but I refuse to test just how durable my investment is. With the logo of Apex Digital squarely in the middle below the screen being the only highlight on the television (which thankfully doesn't light up when the TV is on).
With a few nuts and bolts being the extent of assembly being required to fix it to the stand that is included got it up and ready to go. However since I had four cats at the time (now up to five) which I trust as far as I care to throw them (not far) I had the need to affix the television to the new entertainment center that my wife picked out. This was easily done by drilling a three holes in TV stand, which had circular areas perfectly located for drilling, and I screwed the television stand directly into entertainment center. TA-DA! Now I have an HDTV that didn't require a $100 table/wall mount, and it will never be knocked over by our mischievous kitties.
Hooking It Up
The Apex Digital 40" LCD TV has a bevy of connection options. First of all it has three HDMI inputs, along with one component, one composite, one VGA, and one coaxial input. I have tried every input and they all work excellently. Starting at the worst input option, the coaxial input is easily the worst since it by its nature is lower definition. People may complain that the picture is fuzzy, blurry, or grainy would be because they didn't upgrade their video input method. While over the air transmissions may be done in HD I have never found a signal that wasn't garbage (blocking in and out and skipping constantly), and also while receiving the signal from the same HD cable box that delivers HD via the HDMI it is again much lower definition, if you can find one that works then by all means go for it. Otherwise skip using the coaxial input unless absolutely necessary. Next the Composite input isn't much better since it too isn't intended for high definition input. If you were to only use these two inputs then you would be completely disappointed with the Apex Digital 40" LCD TV.
The Component, the VGA, and the three HDMI inputs on the other hand with proper programming and equipment will unleash full high definition onto the Apex Digital 40" LCD TV. HDMI is the current standard for transferring video to a TV from say a digital cable box or a gaming system. The interesting connector for me is the inclusion of a VGA (with audio plug) input which enables this 40" HDTV to act as a very large computer monitor if you feel so inclined. I have hooked up a computer to test this out and it indeed works like a charm, this could be ideal if you decide to use an old computer to stream video off of their hard drive or the internet.
The Big Picture
Now the most important part, what does the picture look like? Short Answer: Beautiful. While a 40" HDTV is far from the biggest HDTV around it also isn't the smallest. In fact this 40" HDTV fits a very comfortable medium between being too large and too small. Honestly this 40" HDTV is plenty big enough to fit the needs of my living room, while it may only be too big for smaller bedrooms and dorm rooms for example.
The picture quality is simply superb for such an inexpensive HDTV. The TV can go from 480 SD all the way up to full 1080p (the highest HD currently goes). The TV will tell you exactly what resolution you are using every time the resolution changes, which happens when you turn it on, switch inputs, or in my case when I change games or videos on my Playstation 3. This feature is kind of nice since you can diagnose any resolution problems right away if anything were to be holding it back. Firing up my Playstation 3 and playing BluRay movies shows the extremely crisp details possible on this TV, I have found myself watching a lousy BluRay movie and enjoying the detail that can be seen all the way down to pores on the face of the actors. The colors are all true and lifelike while the black is fairly deep while not reaching true black unless you adjust the setting some. I found I don't like the setting required to get the TV to that deep of a black and it is perfectly suitable for viewing without it being pitch black. The whites are bright and the blacks are dark still.
The only downfall of this HDTV's picture is the fact that it only is 60 Hz which is easily outdone by many other models (generally larger and much more expensive). With 120 Hz and now 180 Hz becoming more standard for HDTV's this one is lagging behind. What this lower Hz means is that it refreshes the picture on the screen less times per second than those HDTV's with a higher Hz rating. Which means that during more action intensive watching HDTV's with a higher Hz rating will have a smoother picture. When I bought this TV this low Hz rating was what concerned me when I bought the TV however since I bought it and started using this HDTV in many different ways I have rarely ever noticed it, the only times I have noticed it is when I was playing Resident Evil 5 and Dragon Age: Origins and I would spin the camera around repeatedly, and even then it was nowhere near as noticeable as when I had tried the exact same thing on a name brand HDTV that I would use at a hotel that my work would put me up at.
I can't say that I am extremely familiar with the sound standards of today's HDTV's. And when I first started using the Apex Digital 40" LCD TV I was unimpressed. The sound is fairly minute compared to the much larger sound that our old SD TV produced. Both me and my wife agreed the first day that we would need a home stereo to go with this TV after the first couple minutes of hearing this TV in action. However after a few hours the brilliance of the sound technology involved here won us over. The sound is not very loud but it is very audible that even my damaged hearing can make out everything being said and done on it. Perhaps it is because they subdue all of the noise and mid-bass to bass sounds that can muffle voice range sounds. Even with the sound cranked it doesn't distort, nor does it get so loud that it rattles anything (what can be expected from such small speakers that can be fit into a slim TV nowadays). Overall I am very pleased with the sound in this TV, even though it doesn't sound big, it does project the sound very well and I never miss a word that is spoken on it while background music and sound effects are all clear and present.
In The End
The television comes with a remote control that works just like a remote control should, which is a good thing because you probably will need to use it. This isn't an issue for me since I am used to that since our previous TV (and it was an RCA) had the same problem as this Apex does, universal remotes simply don't work right on it. We currently have digital cable from our small hometown telephone company and they use Entone receivers and remotes. This Entone remote can only change the channel, volume, and turn the TV off (not on), so I we must keep the Apex remote lying around to turn it on and switch input devices. I would say this HDTV is a bargain, especially now since Walmart has dropped the price of it to $350, which is why I bumped my rating of this TV up from four stars to five because it is such a good price for what you get. At the $350 price point you get more than an inch for every $10 you spend! And we all know with technology prices constantly going down the deal will only keep getting better. Come join me in the HD generation if you haven't already, with a quality HDTV such as this at such a reasonable price how can you resist?
Television Features: Wide Viewing Angles, Sleep Alarm/Timer, Wall Mountable, Detachable Base Stand
CD, DVD, Cassette Compatibility: DVD, CD
Maximum Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Vertical Resolution: 1080p
Screen Refresh Rate 60 Hz
Electronic Display Features: French Language On-Screen DisplayContrast Ratio: 1800:1
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
WidescreenTuner Type: ATSC/NTSC/QAM
Response Time:7ms Response Time
Comb Filter Type:3D Y/C Digital
HD Compatibility: HD Built-In
Speakers: 2 Bottom Fixed
Input Type(s): Component YCbCr/YPbPr + L/R Audio, S-Video + L/R Audio
Output Type(s) Digital Audio
Includes:Remote Control Batteries, Quick Start Guide, User Manual, Standard Remote Control
Warranty Description: 90 Day Limited Manufacturer Warranty on Labor